Stockholm university logo, link to start page

Cognition verbs in ancient Egyptian: first results and perspectives (Gaëlle Chantrain)


Date: Thursday 12 May 2022

Time: 15.00 – 16.30

Location: C307, Zoom

Welcome to a research seminar in linguistics with Gaëlle Chantrain, postdoctoral researcher at University of Liege – FNRS (National Fund for Scientific Research).



In this talk, I will present my ongoing research about cognition verbs in Ancient Egyptian. The project itself is still at a relatively early stage but inscribes itself in the line of my former works about the semantic evolution of the Ancient Egyptian lexicon in diachrony.

The main objectives of this study are organized in two parts: 1) the collection of verbs and compound expression based on verbs related to cognition in Ancient Egyptian (with a focus on Late Egyptian, the vernacular language spoken between ca. 1550 and 500 BC), followed with the definition and description of each lexical unit’s semantics; 2) the onomasiology work, which will aim to describe the links between the various verbs and compound expressions studied within the cognition domain.

This project offers an open door toward cross-linguistic comparison and semantic typology since it will allow to establish the structure and extent of a major conceptual domain in Ancient Egyptian and make these data available for comparison with other languages.

The theoretical frame includes a strong anchorage in the conceptual metaphor theory and my first results already reveal numerous points of contact between cognition and other domains such as action/interaction, movement, perception.

In particular, the study highlights many cases of metaphor-induced colexification and identifies the source domains of cognition expression. This component of the project will be developed in more details during the presentation. I will also address the inherent relation between semantic evolution dynamics and the use of written semantic classifiers, which constitute a key-feature of the pre-Coptic Egyptian writing systems.

– Gaëlle Chantrain



Join seminar in Zoom